Friday, March 14, 2014

I feel a rant coming on...

I fucking hate it when I see South Asian magazines using models who ARE NOT SOUTH ASIAN all the time. I realize it’s kind of petty to allow this to piss me off, but just hear me out and then make your judgments.

I am a colored model. We are marginalized in every aspect of this industry. A lot of the time, we feel like we get hired to meet some sort of an “ethic quota” as opposed to being the best for the job.

In a section of the industry where ONE WOULD THINK “brown” (or models of South Asian descent) girls would be used, say for example…I don’t know… in South Asian bridal magazines… no. We are used, yes, to a certain extent. If you flip through the pages of a South Asian magazine you will undoubtedly see “brown” girls gracing the pages. But do you know what you will also see? A PLETHORA OF “WHITE” GIRLS.

Now listen, I am all for inclusivity. So I have a bit of an inner dilemma with this. But don’t give me that bullshit about how we can’t expect to be in magazines in the Western world, and then not be okay when “white” girls are in our magazines. Um, hi, it’s not the same thing.

It’s bloody hard enough to get booked for a job in general, but then to see magazines that are geared towards “brown” people, “brown” brides, and “brown” girls filled with girls who are...well...NOT BROWN, I think you realize my concern. We are so underrepresented in every day society, media and culture. Little "brown" girls growing up don't get to see their skin colour being glorified or appreciated as being beautiful in Western media. Thus, it only further pisses me off when I see our own forms of media being saturated with…WAIT FOR IT… more “white” people! Why are we still sending this message that “‘white’ skin is the right skin”? Why are we still sending the message that lighter skin is more beautiful and desired? (That’s a whole other issues on it’s own..). But do you catch my drift?

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the right person should be chosen for the job, regardless of the colour of their skin. Which is why I have a dilemma with this, and I rack my brain on a daily basis. We say we’re underrepresented and can’t even get booked for jobs within our own forms of media. But at the same time, I believe that you can’t be inclusive by being exclusive. So am I being racist? Am I being prejudice? No. I’m not trying to say; there shouldn’t be any “white” girls in South Asian magazines.

I’m trying to say that it’s extremely unfair that “white” models can go to any country, and any market and be accepted. But I have to hear from my agency, “well you wouldn’t get work in Asia...” It’s messed up! Why can a “white” girl easily book jobs in India, China, South Africa, France etc. But when I go to France, I’m told, “Honey, it’s hard enough to make it as a short model in Paris, it’s even HARDER to make it as a coloured model in Paris!” Thanks, thanks for that. My confidence is truly through the roof.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, of course diversity is a great thing, and I don’t want to offend anyone that read this. This is just my opinion. But maybe if the market wasn’t already so saturated with one type of girl getting all the jobs, I wouldn’t be so angry. At the same time, if I’m watching a South Asian bridal show, and 70% of the models are “white”, am I wrong to think there’s something messed up about that? Am I wrong to think, well I don’t wanna see what the outfit looks like on her skin tone, I wanna see what it looks like on MINE! Am I wrong to think that the target audience is probably “brown”, so maybe more of the models should be? Am I wrong?

Again, maybe if the entire industry didn’t praise the “white” girl.  I wouldn’t be so upset. Maybe if the industry on a whole was more inclusive this wouldn’t be an issue at all and I wouldn’t feel like they were “taking jobs” from us. I don’t know. I just felt the need to finally say something and give my opinion. I want to make it clear I am not trying to spread hate; a lot of my good friends are “white” models. It’s just something I noticed about the industry and I felt the need to share. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Maybe one day it won’t be unheard of for a coloured girl to be a working model in a market like China. Perhaps then I wouldn’t care as much. 

I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

Twitter: @liveshiv
Instagram: liveshiv

1 comment:

  1. YES to all of this I completely agree its disturbing how white washed media is. That they denie even someone as drop dead gorgeous as you completley undeniable beauty because of mere shade. Perhaps we people of colour are intimadating.